Category Archives: Danse Macabre

Consider This Option

If ever writers are stuck for inspiration, they need only to click on Heather Blakey’s Soul Food Cafe to find friendly support from fellow writers from all over the world and masses of sparkling ideas to trigger their imaginations. Heather is a truly creative dynamo, and this is a magic site. I’m so glad I found it. 

The Rookery was the final Advent Calendar in which Heather Blakey featured the work of writers and artists who gathered at the Soul Food Cafe. A hyperlink on each Raven took visitors to individual profiles featuring their work.

The face of the internet has changed dramatically since its inception. Back in the early day’s cyberspace was less crowded and corporate advertising was not as prevalent. When I open sites and find my computer inundated with pop-ups and requests to join mailing lists I confess I click right back out again. But maybe that is just me! I am old enough to remember when this didn’t happen.

Within this site are links to the work of individual artists.

Aside from the endless popups, there are countless courses to fix almost anything that may be ailing people – often at considerable cost.

When it was fully operational The Soul Food Cafe never generated an income. It operated using a different currency. Accolades support that it was a much-loved sanctuary for many people and you only need to visit the Artist’s Loft, take a slice of Pizza or visit many of the Advent Calendars and you will get an idea of how the site freely promoted the work of others. Moreover, if you feel so inclined, nine years after halting her work at Soul Food, Heather is undertaking an archeological dig and taking anyone who is interested into long forgotten corners of the cafe.

…one of those rare jewels in a special crown, Heather brings us all together, no matter what our ages, or experience, through Soul Food Cafe…Now we are really soaring up into the cyber heights with the eagles and ravens! Just as she imagined!
Teresa Seed

Bancroft Manor is in its early development stages but Heather Blakey (who created and grew Soul Food) and I have this vision of populating it with a diverse range of artisans who can work collaboratively if they wish, or simply extend their reach and gain access to like-minded readers.

A project which will give you insight into the potential of Bancroft Manor is Danse Macabre, a site which provides stimuli for anyone who is interested in the Macabre, who is looking for some extra ideas to kick start projects. Danse Macabre is currently being worked by Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey.

Another project is pitched to those who are interested in evocative ethnography, autobiographical and biographical writing.

If you are interested in joining Bancroft Manor you can choose how much you will pay, in your own currency, for a ‘life-long’ subscription. Subscriptions are used to keep the all associated sites free of advertising.

If you do decide to join us you will not be asked to ‘upgrade’ your membership, pay an annual subscription, be added to a mailing list (to be sold to others) or inundated with requests to pay for any additional ‘steak knives’. You will be added to a closed Facebook group and encouraged to set up an artistic space, post interesting links and let other members know what you are doing. You will also be invited to be interviewed and have your work showcased here on this home site. Of course, if you want to remain silent and be left alone to do things at your own pace no-one will tap on your chamber door making any demands.

Diverse Creative Projects at Bancroft

We have wandered roads together
played and learned and found each other
hand in hand the journey winds
through the back roads of memory
through the pathways of new learning
up the stairs where magic beckons
into caverns dark
and to the morning.
Waking we have joined the circle
glowing dawn forever holds us.
Fran Sbrocchi

Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey, each of whom have established themselves at Bancroft Manor, have been working collaboratively and spending some time Dansing with the Macabre. If you visit the site you will find that it is full of interesting stimuli and has lots of prompts that folk can work on in their journals.

When she is not off ‘Dansing with the Macabre’ or running a creative Lived Life Narrative course in Castlemaine, Heather Blakey is working in her apartment at the Manor, wandering down memory lane, remembering the times she travelled with a host of Soul Food patrons. She is busily putting together a retrospective of the decade when she created and managed the Soul Food Cafe.

Suzanne, who revels being in nature and had recently made Descansos, inspired by all the talk about visiting cemeteries “had the compelling urge to stop and take photos of stone angels“.

There are diverse spaces available at Bancroft and you certainly do not have to confine yourself to the Manor House. She hasn’t revealed her location yet but I assume that Raven’s Apothecary is located deep within the woods that are a part of the estate.

If you established yourself in space at on the estate what would it be like? What projects might you be inspired to undertake? Check out the Artist Loft in the Soul Food Cafe to see just what an interesting group of creatives found their way into the site.

Residing at Bancroft Manor

Are you brave enough to go into the woods at Bancroft Manor and meet with some of the darker residents who talented artists such as Brian Froud so imaginatively capture.

Perhaps you will join in and Danse with Macabre and use information you glean to write a dark dark fairy story.

All associated Bancroft Manor sites are free of pop-ups and advertising. Perhaps you will join, help to promote this creative collective and help us keep the sites free of corporate advertising. Or maybe you would like to extend the reach of your creative endeavours, whatever they may be, and, upon subscribing, secure a link featuring an image of your work. For details about joining check out the FAQ page.

A Room of My Own at Bancroft Manor

When you sign up and join Bancroft Manor the choice is yours. You can work in solitude, post on the group Facebook page or join a tour such as Danse with the Macabre.

While Waiting For Godot

A room of my own at the virtual Bancroft Manor

Since settling in at Bancroft Manor, despite having heard movement through the corridors of this palatial home, a property that rivals the famed Romanov Gatchina Palace, I have mainly been happy with my own company. Mostly I am comfortable to enjoy this room of my own. When I am not on tour, Dansing with Macabre, I enjoy exploring the grounds and gardens with my dogs, going for walks around the estate.

Our host, Georgina McClure, has made sure that we have all that we are well connected to the outside world and I have loved this time of quiet solitude, enjoyed rummaging through Borrow Box. I have been happy to lay on the couch or in the bath listening to a vast range of audiobooks including my childhood favourite, The Magic Faraway Tree.

Imagine my delight when I rediscovered Alexander Mcall Smiths No 1 Ladies Detective Series and…

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A Touch of the Macabre

Bone Church Kutna Hora

One of the tours that have left Bancroft Manor involves cemetery hopping. Some of the best travel destinations involve cemeteries such as

1. Highgate Cemetery, London

2.  Cypress Lawn, Colma, California

3. Vysehrad Cemetery, Prague

4. Protestant Cemetery, Rome

5.  Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

6. Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

7. Sunset Hills Cemetery, Flint, Michigan

8. Zoshigaya Reien, Tokyo

9. Sleepy Hollow Cemeteries, New York

10. Waverley Cemetery, Sydney

I have visited Montparnasse and Vysehrad and can testify to the benefit of using cemeteries as one focus when you travel. Certainly, my day visiting the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic and another exploring the historic cemetery in the old Jewish Quarter of Prague will be etched into my memory as absolute highlights of my time in Prague.

Loren Rhoads has worked extensively in this field and her Cemetery Tours site provides a wealth of insight into the creative work that simply visiting cemeteries can generate.

Danse Macabre is a site that is a receptacle for some of the work that emerges. If you are interested in joining Bancroft Manor you will find details on this site.